Dementia or Alzheimer’s Residents Sometimes Amaze Me
Transcribed by Honey B Wackx
If you are around someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease they can sometimes amaze you with what they remember. Not only that, with what they forget. It’s hard to believe the extent of the little things someone with Alzheimer’s can forget after even a lifetime of doing. It could happen fast too.
Today was a rather perfect day and I was outside with Mr. Q, sitting in the swing across from him – he was sitting on a bench at the edge of the patio. I started rocking the swing, but did not move my legs or body so he would not know I had anything to do with moving the swing. This was a two-seater covered swing that we have on the patio.
He was looking directly at me while I was swinging. Mr. Q seemed somewhat out of it after ignoring all the things I had asked him to do just a few minutes before. He was still having to spit so I had to move him to the bench hoping he would lean over and spit in the grass. His medicine is part of the reason he spits a lot. Doctor says it creates more saliva than normal. We did recently have another man with Alzheimer’s that had the same problem.
Anyway I was swinging and kept saying to myself aloud “how come this swing is moving?”. I phrased it many different ways and made sure Mr. Q did not see me actually rocking it. I then asked him why was the swing moving? I thought he was in some never never land but was surprised when he answered “inertia”. Wow! How could he comprehend that when he couldn’t manage to lean over three inches to spit in the grass and kept spitting on the brick border on the edge of the patio? So many times I asked him to bend over a little more to spit on the grass and he couldn’t seem to get it right and kept spitting on the bricks and sometimes on his shoes.
A few minutes later I had grabbed a tablet and was writing notes concerning my websites. It had my name printed across the top. The middle initial was also in my name. Mr. Q was looking at me writing when he suddenly said my middle name. I was really surprised. I never use my middle name and those that new it years ago have surely forgotten it, if they ever knew. Well Mr. Q was right on the ball. I had not seen him in over twenty-five years and maybe twenty years before that I ever even said my middle name anywhere he could have heard it.
Now it seems strange when a person can remember events, names 50 years or more in the past, but cannot even remember how to wash their hands or brush their teeth. That’s some of the strangeness you might experience when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia. It will amaze you and make you feel sorry for them at the same time.